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From Middle English rectifien, from Anglo-Norman rectifiier, rectefier (to make straight), from Medieval Latin rēctificō (to make right), from Latin rēctus (straight).


  • IPA(key): /ˈɹɛktəˌfaɪ/
  • (file)


rectify (third-person singular simple present rectifies, present participle rectifying, simple past and past participle rectified)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To heal (an organ or part of the body). [14th–18th c.]
  2. (transitive) To restore (someone or something) to its proper condition; to straighten out, to set right. [from 16th c.]
  3. (transitive) To remedy or fix (an undesirable state of affairs, situation etc.). [from 15th c.]
    to rectify the crisis
  4. (transitive, chemistry) To purify or refine (a substance) by distillation. [from 15th c.]
  5. (transitive) To correct or amend (a mistake, defect etc.). [from 16th c.]
  6. (transitive, now rare) To correct (someone who is mistaken). [from 16th c.]
    • 1646, Sir Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica, I.3:
      For thus their Sense informeth them, and herein their Reason cannot Rectifie them; and therefore hopelessly continuing in mistakes, they live and die in their absurdities []
  7. (transitive, geodesy, historical) To adjust (a globe or sundial) to prepare for the solution of a proposed problem. [from 16th c.]
  8. (transitive, electronics) To convert (alternating current) into direct current. [from 19th c.]
  9. (transitive, mathematics) To determine the length of a curve included between two limits.
  10. (transitive) To produce (as factitious gin or brandy) by redistilling bad wines or strong spirits (whisky, rum, etc.) with flavourings.


Derived terms[edit]